Three games ago, North Carolina took on Duke in a game where they needed to come out and show they can compete with the big boys. That was when Roy Williams did something he does not normally do, as he changed his starting five halfway through the season when he replaced Desmond Hubert with P.J. Hairston.
With Hairston in the line-up, Carolina is small, but much better. At first, many thought he was starting the Duke game because the Blue Devils also play with a smaller line-up due to the loss of Ryan Kelly, but for the next two games, Hairston was still out on the court for the opening tip.
Today, the Tar Heels take on a big North Carolina State team, and once again, Hairston will be getting the start. Hairston is a 6-foot-5 guard that can play with the big boys on defense. He is a hard worker, and is strong as an ox.
Against North Carolina State today, he will be put up against 6-foot-9 C.J. Leslie. Obviously, Hairston will have a size dis-advantage, but that doesn’t me he can’t defend the bigger man. Clearly, coach Williams has no fear that Hairston will be able to stop Leslie or he would have had Hubert, a defensive specialist, start the game.
Overall, North Carolina needs Hairston to start and be on the court as much as possible. He helps out the offense a tremendous amount with his outside shooting, and his ability to get to the rim and finish through contact. Hairston also grabs a large amount of rebounds for a guard, and that is exactly what he needs to do: defending the post.
Carolina has been a new team and a much better team with Hairston in the starting line-up, and coach Williams would be crazy if he ever took him out of the starting five. He brings the most hustle and energy out of any Carolina player, and it has shown in the last three games.
Hairston and his teammates are seeking revenge today and are playing their best basketball right now.